On the whole, I would have to say that this course has offered a deeper appreciation into the nature of how our approaches to the discipline of history keep changing and expanding.
As I remember it, when computers began to become more integrated as a resource tool, there were a lot of people, mostly older ones I should say, that were suspicious of it, as some still are. I profess readily that I include myself in that category. I think that one of the hardest things for me, is trying to keep up with the ever-increasing pace in this constantly shifting landscape. It seems that as soon as I get the hang of something it all changes. Everything changes so suddenly!
One important point I wish to make in relation to how I have experienced this course: Complexity Kills! Everything has its own language, or lexicon. When I hear people speak about HTML, WordPress, Interface, APPS, Google Docs, etc., I wonder if they’re speaking English. Furthermore, when you consider how many steps it takes to get something set up, by the end you sometimes wonder how you got there. One point that was raised in class discussion was that our instructor, who provided us with steady guidance and direction, was surprised to find how many places across the country are behind the curve, technology-wise. I however was not entirely surprised by this at all. The fact is that as long as there are longstanding inequities within society there will always be gaps of one kind or another. Plus, I have concerns about people becoming so dependent on technology.
I am pleased to hear that our institution is opening a new career and technical center that will offer services that will help to make it easier for people to have access to tools and expertise that will help enable them to better their understanding of how to utilize these technologies. If I have any advice to those who will have charge over this new branch of our institution it is simply this: First, let people know, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask! Secondly, be mindful of your words, tone, and looks. There have been occasions where I have sought out help, per the instruction I was given, and have been given the impression by certain persons that they either felt I was a silly idiot or an intrusive nuisance. When in fact I was simply asking them to help me help myself, which I understood to be their job description. And thirdly, let them know you are there for them, not the other way around. If you encourage people to do well then they will; if you make them feel dumb then they won’t bother.
In conclusion, I close by saying simply this: The reason why I originally signed up for this course was not because I expected to understand fully how to construct a website; but rather to have a deeper appreciation for how this can enhance our ability to do things in a useful way. And I would say that I have, for the most part. I may still be simpleminded and old-fashioned in a lot of ways, but I do care about learning how to make use of my gift, this craft, in an ethical way, with useful meaning and good purpose. In a place filled with geniuses I would like to think that there is room for at least one oddball like me.